The comic folksinger Henry Phillips stars in this wry, poignant, smartly satirical comedy as himself, and puts himself into uneasy situations in which he doesn't always come out as the hero.
Every aspiring performer will appreciate Gregori Viens' unassuming comedy, which cheerfully skewers industry pretensions and media-fueled trends.
| Original Score: 3/5
Familiar show-business satire is enlivened by genuinely witty, off-kilter humor.
[If it] isn't entirely successful, it's partly because the music -- late-night satire swathed in gentle folkie chords -- and Mr. Phillips's modest but knowing manner don't quite match up with the "Star Is Born" clichés of the plot.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Punching the Clown is welcome proof that there remains at least one industry in which the US can compete with New Zealand: the parody folk-song business.
| Original Score: 3/4
A partly biographical, drolly fabricated comedy.
A surprisingly warm variation on an often venal tale, Henry Phillips's pseudo-autobiography affectionately reflects, rather than coldly lampoons, the life of a stand-up.